2017 Walk for the Heysen – Supporting our walking trails.

The Warren Bonython Heysen Trail Foundation will be running the 2107 Walk for the Heysen on Sunday 21st May with guided walks in the Mount Crawford Forest followed by BBQ and live music in the Fromm’s Farm picnic area. There are 3 walk options starting from 9.30 am – 5 km, 8 km and 15 km and walks are designed to suit all ages and standards of fitness.

The event is a fund raiser for the Foundation and funds raised are used to support the environmental sustainability of our trails.

Come and join us for a great day out.

For further information or to book click this link

What is the economic value of bushwalking in South Australia?

Participation in bushwalking by visitors to South Australiaparticipation in bushwalking

Statistics published by Tourism Research Australia and the South Australian Tourism Commission indicate that[1]:

3% of recreational daytrips[2] undertaken in South Australia over the period 2012-2014 involved ‘bushwalking / rainforest walks’ as an activity. This equates to 347,000 daytrips over an average 12 month period.

Average daytrip expenditure in regional SA in the year ending June 2015 was $96 per trip. This equates to total expenditure of $33.3 million by day trip visitors that bushwalk.

10% of all overnight domestic visitors to South Australia participate in ‘bushwalking / rainforest walks’ as a component of their visit. This represents around 527,000 visitors annually over the period 2012-2014.

The average expenditure in regional SA by domestic overnight visitors was around $430 per visitor in the year ending June 2015. This equates to a total expenditure of $226.4 million by overnight visitors that bushwalk.

More than one third (38%) of international visitors to SA participate in ‘bushwalking / rainforest walks’ as a component of their trip to Australia. While this activity may not necessarily occur in SA it represents an average of 138,000 visitors over the period 2012-14.

The average length of stay by holiday / VFR[3] purpose international visitors to SA was 16 nights over the period 2012-14 while the average spend per night in regional SA in the year ended June 2015 was $86.

This suggests expenditure by international visitors to SA who bushwalk as a component of their trip of around $189.9 million.

The estimated expenditure made by daytrip and overnight visitor in SA who bushwalk is summarised below.

Day trip Domestic overnight International overnight Total
Visitors 347,000 527,000 138,000
Expenditure $33.3 Mill $226.4 Mill $189.9 Mill $450 Mill

The total annual visitor expenditure for all overnight visitors over the 2012-14 reference period was $5,100 million and expenditure by overnight visitors who bushwalk represents around 8% of total overnight visitor expenditures for the State.

While not all of the expenditure can be attributed to the direct influence of bushwalking as an activity (in most cases walking will be an ancillary activity) the data demonstrates the importance of bushwalking as a component of the benefits sought by visitors and suggests that walking should be prominently positioned within a broader nature based tourism strategy.

It is anticipated that significant infrastructure such as the Heysen Trail will be recognised and appropriately supported through tourism product development under the State’s nature based tourism strategy.

The understanding of the impact of walking would benefit from further analysis of TRA data and surveys of walkers in SA. Questions to be considered include:

  • What are the characteristics of walkers in South Australia?
  • What are the key motivations for walkers in South Australia?
  • What trails / regions are most attractive? Why?
  • What is the economic impact of walking in regions?
  • What is the value of tourism based on those visitors who travel primarily to walk?
  • What should be the product development priorities to attract more visitors interested in walking?

[1] Tourism Research Australia. Travel by Australians. International Visitors in Australia. SA Tourism Commission. South Australian Tourism Profile.

[2] Daytrip is defined as: Non routine round trip of at least 50 KMs and 4 hours away from home.

[3] Visiting Friends and Relatives

Encouraging Regional Tourism – Which inbound markets will drive growth?

Over the period from 2000-01 to 2011-12 the number of short term international visitors to Australia has grown by 2.3% per annum on average[1]. The origin markets that are growing strongly have been mainland China (13.0% per annum), India (12.4% per annum) and the Middle East (7.4% per annum). These markets are also forecast to provide the strongest growth into the immediate future.

While Australia has done well to grow international demand in the face challenging circumstances the markets with the highest rate of growth may not necessarily benefit all sectors and regions.

A recent study conducted for Tourism Research Australia and Destination NSW examined fly in leisure purpose (holiday / vfr) visitors to Sydney and the extent to which they disperse for an overnight stay into regional areas of New South Wales. The summary report can be accessed here http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/research/tra/Documents/SRR_NSW_Visitor_dispersal_from_Sydney_to_Regional_NSW_FINAL.pdf

The proportion of visitors staying overnight in regional NSW is compared below on the basis of origin.

Incidence of Dispersal from Sydney to Regional NSW by Origin Market

Dispersal chart1

Source: Tourism Research Australia. Domestic visitor estimates are yearly average over a 3 year base period – Year ending June 2009 to year ending June 2011. International visitor estimates are the year ending June 2011.

The research suggests that visitors more likely to disperse to regional NSW were those from Europe, the UK and North America. The research also found that apart from origin country dispersal was related to age and length of stay with younger visitors and those staying for longer more likely to disperse. Those travelling with a tour group were also found to be less likely to disperse.

Repeat visitation to Australia or Sydney was not a significant factor in relation to dispersal nor was main purpose of visit (VFR vs holiday / leisure).

The chart below describes the size of the main disperser segments and also the motivational positioning.

Motivational Positioning by Origin Market 

Buble map

The size of each ‘bubble’ is proportional to the number of disperser nights for each market. Domestic visitor estimates are yearly average over a 3 year base period – Year ending June 2009 to year ending June 2011. International visitor estimates are the year ending June 2011.

The largest disperser segment which consisted of visitors from the UK was above average on the ‘Discovery’ dimension and around the average on the ‘Food, wine and friends’ dimension. The Chinese profile was similar to that of visitors from the UK. The US market was above average on ‘Discovery’ and well below average on ‘Food, wine and friends’.

Both the New Zealand and domestic visitors were below average on ‘Discovery’ and above average for ‘Food, wine and friends’.

The main barrier to regional dispersal was lack of awareness or salience rather than one of destination image[2].  In comparison to Victoria which has maintained a broadly based brand strategy over many years regional NSW may have been disadvantaged by the strength of Sydney as a world city and the focus on the ‘iconic’ attributes of Sydney in destination branding.

In April 2013 Qantas and the NSW Government announced a new $30 million partnership to promote Sydney and regional NSW to the world.

Destination NSW CEO, Sandra Chipchase, said, “Qantas customers will be able to enjoy the best that regional NSW has to offer, with a streamlined service on QantasLink, to a wide range of NSW destinations, including Albury, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Lord Howe Island, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga. Destination NSW and Qantas are working together to promote events and festivals across regional NSW, which visitors can easily reach using the QantasLink network.”

[1] Tourism Forecasting Committee, 2012. Forecast, issue 2.  http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/Documents/tra/Forecasts/2012/Forecast2012Issue2.pdf

[2] Trembath, R. 2008. Destination Salience. A model of consideration and choice for Australian holiday travel. Sustainable Tourism CRC. http://www.crctourism.com.au.

What is South Australia’s tourism brand?

As Kevin Keller[1] has argued brand equity resides in the mind of the consumer. Under Keller’s model  brand equity consists of brand salience, or the likelihood of consideration across situations and contexts, and brand attitude, or the beliefs about the brand held by consumers. While a destination may offer a range of experiences, the potential to change perceptions is limited and destination marketers should work within existing structures to achieve their objectives.

The competitive positioning of South Australia has been tracked in the past and the proportion of eastern seaboard residents associating SA with a set of image based attributes is summarised below[2].

A dashboard with these results specified against the other States and Territories can be accessed by clicking the following link: SA Tourism Brand

South Australia’s Destination Image

In his review of best practice in destination marketing George Whitfield[3]  concludes that “Failure to focus on a primary audience with a distinctive brand promise often results in a ‘me-too’, watered-down, committee-designed brand proposition that fails to differentiate and squanders resources” . It is argued that destination marketers should compete on the basis of attributes that represent the ‘core essence’ of the brand and a clear point of difference from competitors.

The experiences associated with South Australia by eastern seaboard consumers are primarily wine & food, followed by festivals & events and arts & entertainment. These attributes have sometimes been construed as a ‘lifestyle’ or ‘good-living’ positioning and communication strategies have been constructed at various times in the past to reflect this.

Internationally there are a number of destinations associated with ‘good-living’ and their attributes include wine production; opportunities to sample, learn about and purchase wine; distinctive regional cuisine and culture; relaxing climate; natural beauty; heritage architecture and luxury B&B accommodation. Whilst wine may be the primary association, the overall attraction is the result of the interaction of these various factors.

Brand Salience

While some might argue for a differentiated positioning consumers travel for a range of reasons and under a variety of circumstances. An alternative to a differentiated positioning strategy is a salience strategy under which the objective of branding is to ensure that a destination will be considered across a range of situations and motivational contexts. Under a salience strategy it is more important that consumers know something about you than it is to be liked or loved.

The chart below is derived from an academic research project ([4]) and specifies the proportion of consumers evoking Adelaide as a travel destination in response to a number of situational and motivational cues. The research was conducted in a competitive context against other Australian cities and further information in this regard is provided in the dashboard referred to above.

Recall of Adelaide in Response to Motivational and Situational Context

Of the prompts used Adelaide was most likely to be recalled in response to a driving holiday, a place where the visitor could relax and a place where they could indulge their senses.

The research found that for a category of domestic travel intention was explained primarily on the basis of a measure of brand salience – as opposed to a measure of destination image.

 [1] Keller, K 1993, ‘Conceptualising, measuring and managing customer-based brand equity’,  Journal of Marketing, vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 1-22.

[2] SA Tourism Commission. SA Tourism Plan, 2003 – 2008.

[3] George Whitfield, 2005. Mountains don’t smile back. DMO World Destination Branding Master Class.

[4] Trembath, R., Romaniuk, J. and Lockshin, L.  Building the Destination Brand: An Empirical Comparison of Two Approaches. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 28, 804–816, 2011 .

What influence do visitor centres have on regional tourism in South Australia?

Greenhill Research and Planning recently completed the second stage of a 2 year project relating to the influence of visitor information centres in regional areas of South Australia on travel behaviour. A summary of the findings from the second stage has been published by Tourism Research Australia at  http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/Documents/tra/Destination%20Visitor%20Survey/2012/DVS_SRR_SA_The_role_of_VICs_in_regional_SA_FINAL.pdf . The full report can be requested from TRA.

A survey of tourism operators was conducted for the study and it was found that visitor information centres were responsible for delivering 7% of operator sales, on average.

In an era in which tourism product is increasingly distributed online the research also found a significant proportion of operator revenue is still generated through direct mechanisms such as walk up (20% on average) and by phone (21% on average).   The findings relating to distribution can be accessed as a dashboard by clicking the link below. The chart can be filtered by operator type – hotel/motel, B&B/self-contained, caravan park, tour operator, attraction and cellar door.

Distribution dashboard

While some may feel that VICs are less relevant in the digital age, the qualitative component of the research found that consumers value the opportunity to discuss their travel plans with friendly and unbiased locals. This is particularly the case in an environment in which digital information sources may be regarded as less trustworthy due to bias, inaccuracy or lack of currency.

The project report provides analysis of the relationship between visitor centres and the promotion and distribution systems more broadly and provides recommendations relating to a range of issues including governance, relationship with operators, staffing, online distribution and travel agency registration.